Sportsman625....would you believe that the preferred seabass hook in Virginia to catch sea bass was a 5/0-7/0 PACIFIC BASS long shank hook...the reason why, was because it enabled one to remove the fish quickly from the line. But nowadays we have a big selection of hooks to choose from.
First the wide gap hooks. They work incredibly well for seabass. From size 3/0-6/0 with 4/0 and 5/0 the best all around sizes. These hooks fit just perfectly in their mouths, and we notice much less lose of big fish when reeling them up from the deep. Problem with these hooks is that they will slow you down when you have to remove them from a fishes mouth since they will set very deep.
Another good hook, is the Gamakatsu 4/0-6/0 octupus style hook. It has the sharpest points around, and decent sized shank to grab onto when removing a fish from the hook. Problem with these hooks, is that when their is small fish around, or perch, they get impailed or caught very easily due to those ultra sharp points. When i seabass fish, i wait for the tugs, not the taps, and i wait till i fill my rigged tree up, instead of pulling in one at a time. These hooks just grab fish that swim by due to the extra sharp points.
Another all around hook that is commonly used is the Mustad Beak #92671 and #92625 without slices and the #92641 bronzed hook with slices. Sizes from 4/0-6/0. Again nice long shank to grab onto, but we have noticed, that these beak style hooks will lose more large seabass when reeling up, then the other two hooks mentioned above. I am not a fan of these hooks for seabass fishing even though many fishermen use them.
Sproat #3399 was the old time standard, due to price,and because it worked, but i would choose the above listed hooks for seabassing now.
If their are large porgies around, which we are seeing more and more later in the season, drop down to size 1/0-2/0 if you want more scup, yet want to also catch the larger seabass.
I am not a fan of leader hooks for seabass. The commercial fishermen in Virginia make dropper loops on 50-80lb mono, and catch all the seabass they want.
This is what i do for seabass fishing when fishing Montauk from August through November...i use 40lb coiled leader material and make 3 separate dropper loops for the hooks and one dropper loop for the sinker. I put the eye through the dropper loop, then i make a number of twists where i double and triple loop around the shank of the hook, so that the hook has a few wraps holding it. I have seen fellows on party boats first make twists in their lines before making a dropper loop so that the hook stands out but for seabass fishing it does not make any difference. If you want the hook to stand out straight, get tinker tubing and slide it between the hook and the wraps. It also makes removal of the seabass easier, giving you something more to grab. I have a number of premade rigs tied with the tubing and without. The tubing also protects the wraps around the eye of the hook from chaffing, since after catching a number of seabass, the line will be frayed at this area. This we feel is the best commercial style rig you can make.
When we fish waters over 120 feet we start to use 50-60lb coiled leader material, and use from 3-6 hooks depending on how good the fishing is. If you are drift sea bass fishing, go to a heavier then usual sinker...you want to get down to the bottom as fast as you can, with the least amount of line out. People do the opposite and let enough line out to reach Georges Banks and wonder why they do not catch any fish or pick up a fish here and there. This is one thing people never seem to get into their heads when drift fishing. Use 50lb power pro and you are all set.
Yes, people use killies for seabass, but why go through that expense? They work well when fishing in the early part of the season...problem is that latter in the season, their are porgies around and they rip them apart. And if you are wreck seabass fishing, the perch will peal them off the hooks all the time. Fresh skimmers,lightly salted is the KEY. Cut the skimmer so that you have a piece of soft belly along with the meat. Put a long narrow nice sized piece on your hook. One trick for big seabass, is to use crabs that are cut into pieces...it discourages the trash, and the big seabass love it. Whenever you see seabass spitting up small crabs, put it on the hook and send it back down, and hold on. For big seabass this is their preferred meal over all other things!
Lou of all the bottom fish, seabass are the simplest to catch once you find them. Do not go extra exotic as far as hooks or rigs. Simple setups work perfectly for these fish.
EC NEWELL MAN>>>>